My Memorial Day Weekend Was Memorable.

10410096_10152414310318363_1536059176270689246_nAs you can see, I haven’t blogged in a good two or so weeks. I don’t know where to start. We went on what I’d call our ‘first real vacation’ over the holiday weekend. I’ve been to a few places before. My parents, boyfriend, and I went to Eau Claire over Labor Day last year so I suppose I should also classify that as a vacation too but..anyways.

10308161_10152414310113363_7604619791352627641_n“C” and I went to Duluth, MN for a nice 4-day getaway. Set aside the backseat driving, our time there, during, and back was absolutely wonderful. On Friday, we didn’t have anything planned since we took our time to get there so we mosied our way down and through Canal Park. This is officially one of my most favorite places in the little bit of the world that I’ve seen. It was almost movie like. Kids were rushing with melting ice cream cones to watch the ships enter the harbor. A little old man was feeding seagulls bread. Tourists were gawking over the lighthouse at the end of the strip. The temperature was 72 degrees with a breeze.

10169411_10152418652473363_927707804006529661_nOn Saturday, we toured the well-known Glensheen mansion and took a cruise aboard the Vista Fleet. With my camera acting as a necklace, I couldn’t stop snapping memories one by one. Don’t worry, I made sure to cherish the moments as well. I know that some people will tell you to live in the moment which is great advice and I like to live by that. 10363843_10152418651168363_3801365417157104304_n But moments aren’t forever. They fade. They are lost. Days, weeks, and years drift by so quickly that we could never expect our minds to remember the little things. Those moments are the ones I photograph. I don’t need to remember my face or his on those days. I don’t need to remember the breeze on my back. But I do and I will need to remember the view. The images that I see will always bring me back to the moments even when I’m old and wrinkly.

To end a beautiful day on the water, we ventured to Enger Park. It’s at the tip-top part of the Duluthian hills. You can see it from Lake Superior as a little thimble at the top of a hill but when you’re up there, after your ears have popped, and you’ve climbed the six flights of stairs, you feel like you’re on top of the world. It’s absolutely breathtaking. To be able to take in North Shore to the Areial Lift Bridge on Canal Park, out into the emptiness of Lake Superior, over the railroad tracks and to Wisconsin is just beautiful. There isn’t any other way to describe it other than that. Simple and peaceful. Life isn’t so hard when you’re on top of a hill looking at all there is to offer.

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1554408_10152418647558363_7867321417357191154_nSunday, oh Sunday. It was an adventure to say the least. We traveled about 45 minutes to the north of Duluth along the scenic North Shore route 61. Our first stop was Gooseberry Falls. And to sum it up in one word: breathtaking. I know it sounds like I’m repeating myself adjectivally throughout this post but everything really was “that amazing!” Gooseberry Falls is one of those places that everyone should have on their Bucket Lists. Once you make your way through the little bit of a hike to get there, you’re presented with children and families embracing all the Falls have to offer. It’s gorgeous. We sat on a few rocks right near the underside of the falls and just listened to the water crashing below. 10406759_10152418655333363_957176214802948853_nI sat quietly observing the children playing and the adventure seekers climbing the cliffs. I watched as a man and his dog fitted with booties hopped from rock to rock. We climbed our way down to the “rapids” and slowly but surely took a walk through the water, over the slippery rocks. Feeling the pressure on our ankles and calfs, moving against the current. Moments like those are the ones you smile at while looking into the nothingness off your deck after a long day at work. It was something that I hope to never forget. We would love to make another trip to eastern Minnesota just to see these again.

10312838_10152418653823363_4341966486862979581_nReady for another awe-inspiring view? Split Rock Lighthouse is only about 10 minutes from Gooseberry Falls. How can two of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen be so close in proximity? Jackpot! Lighthouses are my weakness. Really anything sea or ship related to be quite frank. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s the history or the mystery. Whatever it may be, bring me to a lighthouse, show me something with an anchor on it and we’ll be best friends until the end.

10298877_10152414309893363_3234319371217711934_nThis past weekend was filled with so much love and laughter, that I can’t even express it in a blog post but I have learned one thing: ENJOY IT. I feel so often that I worry too much about the future and over-analyze my past. I compare myself to others constantly and am afraid that I’m not living my life to it’s full potential. I’m making a proactive effort to change my way of thinking. I’ve been reading so many “find yourself” articles lately, that I really do need to find myself before life continues to drift on by as quickly as it has been. Screw what everyone else is doing. I don’t want my biggest regret to be worrying about everyone and everything else, not going on those trips or spending that money. Not buying that lake property. Not moving to that city and getting that promotion.

So, after a long awaited much deserved (if I do say so myself) vacation to Duluth, MN – live it up people. Make memories with those you love. Take pictures. Take tons of pictures. Laugh, slip, fall down, and get back up. Climb that extra flight to get to the top. Fight for your happiness and make damn sure that smile is real.10309209_10152414281593363_8809544577189953159_n

Much love. -Oar

I’m Through With Excuses.

Where does the time go? Yet again, I’ve been so sucked into my damn phone that I chose to play Candy Crush, creep Facebook, and browse Twitter rather than set all that stuff aside and focus on writing. Why can’t I willingly take a social media break? It’s exhausting. Nothing is really that interesting that I need to continually keep refreshing to see what the next person said about their day or their kid or their job.

Over the last few days or so I thought that I had some pretty decent post ideas but then by the time I was by a computer, I didn’t feel like turning it on. I’m considering investing in an actual desk. Right now, whenever I power up my laptop, I’m sitting on the couch and we all know how awkwardly we have to sit in order to be semi-comfortable and have the laptop carefully positioned so that we can see and type at the same time. Carpal tunnel anyone?

I’ve been saying for sometime now that I need to get my shit together. I’m one of the most perfectionist, motivated driven people you’ll ever meet but when it comes to my own personal, deep down, gut wrenching, life changing goals – I’ll procrastinate and make excuses like none other. The most obvious being to get healthy.

I’ve been re-reading my past posts as a type of motivation but even as I type this I have a gallon jug of water (good) and a Hugo’s doughnut (bad) sitting next to me staring in my face. The last week or so I haven’t eaten breakfast and I’ve felt so cruddy by lunch time that today I decided to chose the doughnut over nothing. Not because I love them because really, they are too sweet and sticky but I didn’t want to have my stomach be gurgling all morning. And yes, I did consciously chose it over a bowl of bland oatmeal.

What’s wrong with me? I know the exact formula it takes to get healthy but it’s not a very fun path is it? Sure, when you hit the milestones you’ll know it’s paying off and hopefully (cross my fingers) it won’t be as much of a challenge to chose oatmeal over a doughnut but we all have to get over that first hump or twelve before we can actually claim to be milestone worthy. Just because I have this [now a third of the way eaten] doughnut in front of me doesn’t mean my day is ruined. I have been consistent with my water intake and have a tuna and peas on toast planned for lunch rather than a McDonald’s maggot filled cheeseburger. Go me!

Update: You’ll be happy to know that I ended up throwing the rest of my doughnut away.

Making Dreams Become Reality.

I’ve been day dreaming about lake homes lately. I don’t know if it’s just a built in fantasy coming from the land of 10,000 lakes or if it’s the pure serenity that comes from being at the lake. Regardless, the last few weeks of my life have led me to Google searching in all my free time. I’ve been looking at both the realistic possibilities and the true make believe wishes in my head. They’re all beautiful.

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I sometimes wonder if I messed up along the way. And if so, was there any way I could have altered my path? I’m not saying that everyone needs to have a 4+ year degree of college to even think about owning some beautiful lake front property but someone like me..would. I didn’t go onto a 4 year school because I had no idea or direction of what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had many of the same passions I do today but I just didn’t want to be that girl that switched her major 14 times.

Sure, it probably would have payed off but at the time, I didn’t think it was practical. It still isn’t in my opinion but I might have been further down the road of adulthood than I am now. My mom sent me quote over the weekend: “Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.” written by Earl Nightingale.

And you know what? She’s right. Earl’s right. Whoever. I’ve been making excuses and contemplating for the last couple of years whether or not I should go back to school. I know that I’m bright and intelligent. I hold many great qualities the people in the work force are bound to admire but I’m not satisfied with myself. It doesn’t matter how many complements I get on my work or how proficient I am Monday through Friday, 8-5 because at the end of the day or the week when I have down time, I beat myself up at the lack of accomplishment in my life.

I have full confidence in myself knowing that if I’d been given the opportunity to land an amazing job at anywhere from a highly noted financial institution, to Twitter, to an accounting firm in New York City, that I’d excel at it. Given the world that we live in today though, you won’t even get a second look without a bachelors degree or higher.

Now, I’m not trying to lay myself out on a silver platter or anything, I just wanted to point out the obvious. And I’m right. There are actually people that I know personally who have graduated with honors from there respected universities, yet they know diddly squat in the place that they are beginning their career. Just because your name has a university degree stamped behind it means that you are right for the job?

Don’t get me wrong; I want to go back to school. I love learning and exploring. I want to flood my brain with endless knowledge. I want to cram for a test the next morning, write a 5 page essay. But in order to do that, I have to work. I have to work a full time job. I’m not privileged enough to work a 12 hour a week part time job nor would I want to be.

I graduated from a 2-year community college working 1 full time job and 2 part timers. It made me a strong, motivated person. But it also made me realize that I couldn’t have both. It’s either work or school. I had to decide if I wanted to see what I could find with my 2 year and if it would get me anywhere. Or I could have continued on, not knowing what to major in all the while keeping up with the dead end full time waitressing gig. Would it have paid off? It might have. If I would have continued on; I’d more than likely have been done by now but what would I be doing? Where would I be going?

My mom has offered the suggestion of night school and/or online classes for a couple years now. Although I’ve brushed it off in the past; I think I might have to take that advice just to get my foot in the door. I have many passions but none of which I can see myself making a career out of. The biggest of which is photography. I would love to learn more about the art. Become formally trained on various editing programs and such but it’s difficult to be truly successful at it seeing that everyone and their sister thinks they are photographers. I also wouldn’t want to put myself through another 3 years of school just to find when I’m done that I’d continue on to live in poverty until I have a portfolio the size of Delaware created just for people to book a session with me.

I know what I’m good at. I’m great with numbers and budgeting. I’m a planner and an organizer. I don’t forget, I’ll get things done no matter how busy or stressed I am. I have great work ethic and perfect any messy situation that I’m thrown into. In all the jobs I’ve ever held, none were like the other. I had all the ingredients and no recipe. I was given the bowl and spatula and made it work. I love the thrill in doing that. The timeline of day one to day 365 where you can still remember the first day of no knowledge to a year later and you could do it with your eyes closed.

But what does that all mean? That isn’t the formula to a career path, it’s just the frosting to the cake. The good stuff, it’s the extra added bonus to the degree behind your name.

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It’s time to stop wishing and hoping and dreaming. I’m beginning to think that it’s time to make a damn change. Even if I take a few classes here or there that simply interest me, I really do think that I’ll feel more accomplished. Hell, at the very least I’ll be learning something new. I’m also bound and determined to make a change in our living situation. We’re tired of the apartment life. I’ve always hated it. White walls and noisy neighbors? The view of a black slab with 50 cars isn’t really what I would call peaceful.

If a mother of 2 can go back to college, work, maintain a happy family life and succeed in doing so than surely I should have the balls to give it a shot. I might not ever be fortunate enough to own a peninsula with 1700 feet of lake shore surrounding it but I will (mark my words, I will) own a beautiful home with a lake view one day.

What are you going to change to make your dreams become a reality? Better yet, what have you done in the past to find success now?

Write It Out.

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Since the new year started, I’ve seen a few new blogs pop up on my various social network news feeds. They are all very inspirational. The ironic thing is; although all of us are doing our own thing – we all seem to have a common ground. And that is: expressing ourselves in a way that we haven’t before. Something was missing and that was explanation, interpretation, and most of all our voices in the written form. I don’t know about anyone else but I find it easiest to express myself in any emotion through writing it out. Sure I’m fully capable of declaring my emotions in any which way physically and vocally but actually digging a little deeper and getting my voice heard only happens through writing. The unfortunate thing is that we never really know who is listening to it when presenting it on a public forum like this. I’m sure people all over the world see our open book and pass their own judgements just like I myself do. But the people that we actually want to see and read and understand seem to have no idea that these parts of our lives exist. To each their own I guess, we can’t make anyone do anything.